Happy Birthday Gonzalo Rubalcaba

May 27, 1963

Giant Steps

Pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba was born on May 27, 1963, in Havana, Cuba.

With a twin passion for drums and piano, he began formal conservatory training on the piano at nine and earned a degree in composition from Havana’s Institute of Fine Arts.

Simultaneously with his classical studies, he was an ardent self-taught student of jazz, especially Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and Oscar Peterson.

Rubalcaba has played with Dizzy Gillespie, Ignacio Berroa, Chick Corea, Al DiMeola, Herbie Hancock, and Charlie Haden.

He went on tour with Orquesta Aragon, visiting France and Africa in 1983, before forming his band “Grupo Proyecto” two years later and being discovered by Dizzy Gillespie.

Rubalcaba performed at the 1986 Havana Jazz Festival the following year, accompanied by a rhythm section consisting of Charlie Haden and Paul Motian.

Soon, the pianist began appearing at international jazz festivals and became one of the biggest Afro-Cuban stars of the 1990s after signing with Blue Note.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba is featured leading his Quartet at the 1992 Blue Note Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival.


Gonzalo Rubalcaba, piano
Reynald Melian, trumpet
Felipe Cabrera, bass
Julio Barreto, drums